On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke before UNESCO to condemn and call for an end to antisemitism. His speech had many strong and correct assertions about the nature of hatred and the long history of antisemitism. But perhaps his most noteworthy point was this: that to deny Israel's right to exist is a form of anti-Semitism. While this has long been recognized as fact among Jewish communities and supporters of Israel, many around the world, including here in America, refuse to accept this essential truth.
The manner in which Israel is routinely slandered, delegitimized, and openly threatened on the world stage is unlike how any other UN member state is treated. The ancient historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, including the city of Jerusalem, is proven time and time again by archaeological evidence, yet other countries frequently deny these facts. Meanwhile, UN bodies continue to single out Israel for blame and condemn it for defending itself - echoing the language of antisemitic conspiracy theories. It's time we call these actions what they are: discrimination, bigotry, and hate.
That's why this statement by Mr. Guterres sets such a powerful example. As Secretary-General, he is uniquely positioned to lead by example and change the tide in the UN. And especially in front of UNESCO, which has a long track record of antisemitic and anti-Israel bias, this needed to be said. I thank Secretary-General Guterres for standing up for the truth, and I look forward to a new day at the United Nations.
American Jewish Congress